Economic Scorecard

  • The economy is now officially in recession. The National Bureau of Economic Research, which makes the call on business cycles, says the recession began in December 2007.
  • Members of the Federal Reserve Board believe the current recession will last through mid 2009.
  • Further interest rate cuts are likely. The federal funds rate now stands at 1%. Economists expect the Fed to cut rates again when they meet on December 16.
  • The Dow Jones Industrial Average fell another 5.2% in November and is down 33.4% year-to-date.
  • According to CNBC, the running tab for America’s financial bailout totals $7.36 trillion. Adjusted for inflation, that amount is double what the country spent on World War 2.
  • The national unemployment rate stands at 6.5%, the highest since March of 1994. The U.S. economy has lost more than 1 million jobs this year. Michigan and California are among the states hardest hit by recent job losses.
  • The names of companies announcing mass layoffs reads like a who’s who of business: Bank of New York Mellon, Boeing, Citigroup, Deutsche Bank, Fidelity Investments, Ford, General Motors, JPMorgan Chase, Motorola, Philips Electronics, and Sun Microsystems to name a few.
  • Prices, as measured by the Consumer Price Index and Producer Price Index, have fallen for the last three months. The average price of a gallon of unleaded gasoline, according to AAA, fell 64 cents in November alone to $1.82. A year ago, the average cost was $3.07.
  • An estimated 2 million prime mortgage are now in foreclosure and an estimated 12 million homeowners owe more on their homes that what they paid.
  • Two bits of positive news were reported Monday. Mortgage rates fell significantly over the prior week. And, Thanksgiving weekend retail sales, were up surprisingly from a year ago.

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